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Union educator in the lead to become president of Peru

By Jim Byrne

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Tucson, AZ – In an historic election, former elementary school teacher and union leader Pedro Castillo is winning the Peruvian presidential race. As reported by the Peruvian National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) on the morning of June 9, Castillo is leading over right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori.

Castillo, from a poor peasant background, is the presidential candidate of the Peru Libre party, has 50.2% of the vote. Keiko Fujimori, daughter of imprisoned former President Alberto Fujimori, has 49.7% of the vote, with 98.1% reporting. Fujimori’s father is in prison for the forced sterilization of thousands of indigenous and peasant women in the 1990s during his presidency. Fujimori’s administration was corrupt and violently suppressed peasant rebellions and waged dirty wars against guerrilla movements that were fighting for national liberation.

Castillo rose to national prominence in 2017 when he helped his union lead a teachers strike that won important demands. The Peru Libre party also recently won 37 seats in the 150-member national Congress, automatically giving him 13% of the legislature to work with if the lead holds.

While Keiko Fujimori is trying to sow seeds of doubt on the election which are clearly baseless, Castillo’s imminent victory is a major win for left and progressive forces in Latin America.

Castillo will join a new wave of elected leftists in Latin America, such as President Luis Arce in Bolivia, from the socialist MAS, or Movement Towards Socialism, party that won outright in November with 55% of the vote. In December in Venezuela, the party of “Worker President” Nicolas Maduro won again, as the PSUV or United Socialist Party of Venezuela gained 69% of the parliamentary election vote. Like Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega and Mexico’s President Manuel Lopez Obrador, the U.S. corporate press and politicians often attack and vilify their policies.

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